Oakland Raiders' Week 4 Stock Report
A few players have stepped into lead roles and delivered the goods in their last outing. In contrast, a couple of players didn’t show up on the field via coaches’ decision.
Quarterback Derek Carr and edge-rusher Khalil Mack earn honorable mentions this week. Both players continue to perform at a high level and made significant contributions to the Raiders’ Week 3 win.
We’ll discuss some of the players who transitioned from backup roles into starting positions as question marks with moderate expectations. Who came through for Oakland on Sunday? Who did the coaches keep off the field?
Stock Up: Latavius Murray
Will Latavius Murray blossom into a starting running back? If so, how good can he become as the bell-cow tailback without a strong backup?
Murray rushed for a career high of 139 yards against the Browns’ poor run defense. Let’s not crown him the second coming of running back Adrian Peterson as color commentator Chris Simms often brings up, but Murray has the physical tools to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards this season.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave doesn’t need a committee to establish the ground attack. Approximately 20-25 carries to Murray should keep defenses honest and prevent the safeties from sitting back on their heels waiting for the pass.
Murray’s Week 3 performance proves he's capable of exploiting favorable matchups against weaker front sevens. He’ll face the Chicago Bears’ 28th-ranked run defense in Week 4.
Stock Down: Rod Streater
For consecutive weeks, the coaching staff opted to play wide receiver Andre Holmes over Rod Streater.
There’s no word on exactly why this decision has been made over the past two weeks. Both wideouts missed significant time in the offseason, but the coaching staff continues to give Holmes the nod as the fourth active wide receiver on game day.
Streater’s stock hits rock bottom simply because all four active wideouts continue to play well with Carr at the helm.
All four receivers had their bright spots over the past two weeks, some brighter than others, but the passing attack hasn't skipped a beat without Streater in the slot.
If Streater continues on a streak of inactivity, he’s not worth mentioning in these stock reports. We’ll move on from the fourth-year wideout just as the Raiders have already done so in the onset of this season.
Stock Up: T.J. Carrie
Cornerback T.J. Carrie proved he can become the jack-of-all-trades in the Raiders secondary.
In Week 3, Carrie started as the strong safety responsible for holding the contain on the Browns’ deep threats.
According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up two catches for a mere 12 yards and broke up a pass in an unfamiliar role. The seventh-round pick continues to exceed expectations as a complete defensive back.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. received praise for an effective pass rush, but his experiment with Carrie playing center field also paid dividends.
Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin didn’t hurt the Raiders secondary with long receptions. Quarterback Josh McCown targeted Benjamin four times on throws 20 yards or more downfield; Benjamin didn’t catch any of those passes.
Carrie’s versatility allows Norton the flexibility to show different looks on the back end to cover up the weaknesses in pass coverage.
Stock Down: Taylor Mays
Carrie essentially played Taylor Mays' position at safety. Mays fulfilled special teams duties against the Browns after a poor showing in Week 2.
It’s unclear whether Carrie’s move to safety sticks as a permanent fixture, but Norton shouldn’t hesitate to make the move if David Amerson holds his own at cornerback.
The shift would likely push Mays out of the rotation at safety and restrict him to special teams.
Oakland didn’t sign Mays as the antidote to the secondary in the first place; he’s a depth player who may find his niche on kickoff and punt-return coverage.
It’s important to note, Larry Asante played 15 snaps as a short-term fill-in at safety ahead of Mays.
Stock Up: Malcolm Smith
Norton found justification in his confidence for linebacker Malcolm Smith as the Raiders tinkered with their defensive alignment.
Smith played inside linebacker alongside Curtis Lofton and became a disruptive force in the backfield. He registered a sack and blew up a couple of run plays at or behind the line of scrimmage.
Smith’s Super Bowl XLVIII MVP created a brief career highlight, but he came off the sidelines for a majority of his four-year tenure with the Seattle Seahawks.
Sio Moore's departure placed Smith in a stable starting position at weak-side linebacker, and he showed a glimpse of his potential as a playmaker against the Browns.
Head coach Jack Del Rio highlighted Smith’s performance and leadership as the reason for his prominent role in August, as reported by CSNBayArea.com reporter Scott Bair.
Moore has exclusively contributed to the Indianapolis Colts' special teams unit in the first three weeks of the season. Smith may hit his stride with the alternative defensive alignments mixed into the game plan.
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Week 3 statistics and play-by-play analysis provided by NFL.com.